What exactly were Paul Simon and Julio doing down by the schoolyard? We only know it was against the law.
That’s not completely accurate–we also know that it was what the mama saw. Paul Simon’s lyrics have many mysteries, starting with why he says there must be fifty ways to leave your lover but then enumerates only seven. The most enigmatic, however, is the refrain of the 1972 hit “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” where Simon cheerfully sings, “It was against the law / What the mama saw.” Asked to shed some light on this criminal act, Simon said, “I have no idea what it is. Something sexual is what I imagine, but when I say ‘something,’ I never bothered to figure out what it was. Didn’t make any difference to me. I like the line about the radical priest–I think that’s funny to have in a song.”
(Excerpted from the 2006 book Is Tiny Dancer Really Elton’s Little John?: Music’s Most Enduring Mysteries, Myths, and Rumors Revealed, published by Three Rivers Press, written by Gavin Edwards.)